Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Brecht & the Dividends Opera

"A publishing house is different from a screw factory, but they follow the same economic laws. If I make losses, I can't afford to pay advances to authors."

- says Hans Barlach, a media investor who is embroiled in a power struggle at Suhrkamp, a legendary German publishing house with a list that stretches from Brecht and Hesse to Habermas.

There's something very Brechtian about the conflict. A flamboyant widow who basically inherited the company from her late husband; a bold minority shareholder who charges into this bastion of high-brow prose and refined literary salons, demanding a higher dividend.

I'm waiting for someone to post a Brechtian take on this on youtube, complete with "The Screw Factory Song" and Suhrkamp's panicking authors as the Greek chorus. How about "The Dividends Opera"?

You can read the full story here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/25/tug-of-war-german-publisher

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